On Thursday night, when Grandma and WG joined us for dinner, I combined grilled steak with fresh, home made pesto. I’d never done that before. Why?! It was delicious. Forget sweet barbeque and steak sauces, which I rarely use. This is a combination that I will definitely make again. S also put some hickory wood chips on the fire and that also enhanced the flavor without making it smokey tasting. Mmmm.
And, what goes with steak and a mediterranean sauce? Polenta.
I made way too much – the reference recipe from Marcella Hazan’s “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking” said that it would make 4 cups. I actually used slightly less polenta and came out with much more. Definitely enough to serve 8, which meant that Grandma and WG got to take home some leftovers to eat grilled or fried on another day.
We all liked the addition of corn to the polenta. It added a texture and burst of flavor that were delicious and unexpected. I made the polenta a little creamier by combining milk and water for the cooking liquid, plus some parmesan and a little butter at the end. Another keeper. The girls are not big soft polenta eaters, but they do like it grilled. I will make this for them when they get home!!
Polenta with Fresh Corn
serves 8 generously
Note: Polenta must be tended to while cooking and must be served immediately. Therefore, you need to plan your meal accordingly.
1 1/2 cups polenta (not quick cooking)
3 cups milk (regular, reduced fat, skim – any would work fine)
4 cups water
2 tsp. kosher salt
2 ears of fresh corn, kernels cut from the cob (abot 2 cups fresh corn)
1/2 cup grated parmesan
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Additional salt and pepper to taste
1 glass red wine, optional
Bring milk and water to boil in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Add salt to the pot, then add the polenta, very slowly, in a thin stream, stirring constantly. When all of the polenta has been added, turn down the heat to medium low and stir the polenta continuously until it starts to thicken and make big burping bubbles, about 5-10 minutes. It seems like it is done at this point, but it is not. Take a sip from the glass of wine and continue sipping and stirring, while talking to your guests. You will need to stir for about 30 minutes, while the polenta gets creamier and creamier.
After about 30 minutes, add the corn, parmesan and a good grinding of black pepper. Continue to stir and sip your wine for about 5 more minutes. Finally, add the 2 Tbsp. of butter. Stir until melted and combined. Test for seasonings and add additional salt and pepper to taste.
Pour the polenta into a serving dish and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve immediately.
Any polenta that is not eaten at the meal can be refrigerated, then sliced and grilled, fried or broiled for a side dish another time (within a few days).